So I know this is really late but I only just decided to start a book blog and what better way to start than with this kind of post. So here we go! Here are the top ten books I read in 2016, rank-ordered, all of which I gave 5 stars to.
10. Beside Myself by Ann Morgan
This book is about a pair of twins who like to pretend to be each other until one day, one of the twins refuses to switch back. It’s basically a look at how people’s perceptions of you can really influence your entire life trajectory. It’s the most insane case of a self-fulfilling prophecy I ever read about and as a psychology student, I’m a complete sucker for it. The story does get a bit dramatic and it seems that anything bad that can happen to our main character will happen. Still, it is a really interesting look at how the way we judge people can really influence who they become and also highlights some of the worst parenting I’ve ever read about. Kind of an eye-opening book which is why it made it onto my list!
9. Genesis by Bernard Beckett
This book… man, I don’t even know how to describe this book. It’s some sort of dystopian I guess but it’s a relatively short book that takes place over the course of a few hours. The story follows our main character as she takes a history exam about her society so we get to learn about the history of this society and how it came to be from her answers on the exam. It’s a really interesting way of introducing the world that was informative and felt genuine and didn’t feel like info-dumping. Other than the way the story is told, this book also discusses really interesting philosophical questions like how different is artificial intelligence really from humans and what gives humans our humanity? Overall, a really mind-blowing read which I did not expect at all, and one that will make you think.
8. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
You will soon realise that I am a huge fan of dystopian books and I will likely feature many of them on my blog. This is one of the most classic dystopians out there so I thought I should give it a read if I wanted to proclaim myself a dystopian fan. It’s easy to see how this book became such a staple for the dystopian genre. It is creepy and unsettling in a quiet way, as all dystopians should be. I thought the idea of language as the thing that allows us to have independent thoughts was fascinating and the idea to severely limit the vocabulary of the society so that people cannot even think rebellious thoughts was the creepiest thing I had ever read about. That is essentially mind control in the subtlest yet most powerful way. There were so many quotable passages in this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy so that I can highlight them all! I also liked how the ending was different from many other dystopians in that it is a pretty bleak one and essentially nothing has changed. Much more realistic in my opinion, albeit a tad depressing. That’s just the way I like my books though!
7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book is extremely well-loved in the book community and perhaps it is surprising that it is only number 7. Unfortunately, this is entirely my own fault as I saw the movie before I read the book (I know, burn me at the stake) so I knew what was going to happen in the end. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I still felt all the emotions that I was supposed to throughout the entire story (though maybe a little less strongly). I thought having Death as the narrator was genius and made the writing so interesting. It was dark but also funny. The plot of the story itself was a little lacking perhaps so what I really enjoyed about this book was the writing. I really do wish I had read this before I saw the movie because I think it would have packed a much bigger punch but oh well… Still a wonderful story and an instant favorite.
6. Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. This is a story about a girl who was raped and is trying to deal with that. I thought this book showcased a way of dealing with rape that is different from what I usually see in other stories. Our main character in this story is actually quite high-functioning and is able to go about her life like usual. It is only when she is alone at night that the nightmares come. I thought this was an interesting portrayal of that. I also loved the romance and friendship in this story. It is not a ‘love fixes mental issues’ kind of story but more like ‘love gives you the strength to face your issues’, which I thought was beautiful. The love interest was so kind and respectful and I just want every love interest to be like him. I am so done with the bad boy trope, give me more nice guys! Contrary to popular belief, they don’t finish last, at least not in my books. The mystery element and sibling relationship in this book were also really great.
5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This has got to be my absolute favorite historical fiction so far. The story follows a blind Parisian girl and a German boy sent to Hitler Youth and it is a slow build-up to when their paths eventually cross. I don’t usually care about beautiful or poetic writing but Anthony Doerr, man, you sucked me right in. The writing was truly, truly beautiful and was absolutely perfect for a story like this. I fell in love with all the characters and although this book was a chunker, I never wanted it to end. I wanted to keep following these characters forever. Unlike other historical fictions, I thought this one also had a pretty solid plot that had an element of mystery in it, which I loved. This book is just so beautiful (inside and out) and I can’t recommend it enough.
4. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
This is the fourth book in The Heroes of Olympus series. Last year, I read the whole Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and The Heroes of Olympus series and it was incredible. The world of Percy Jackson is so cool! I was always fascinated by Greek mythology as a kid and I only wish I had discovered Percy Jackson sooner! It is just as enjoyable to read these books even now when I’m 23 though! The Heroes of Olympus is definitely my favorite of the two series because I just love all of the characters and their character development was just incredible. You know Rick Riordan is an incredible author when he is able to fully flesh out 10 characters in the space of 5 books. The House of Hades is my favorite one because this was like the peak of all the character development (especially precious Nico!!) and it was also incredibly exciting because we were building up to the finale. Also, Percy and Annabeth are #relationshipgoals. I can’t wait to dive back into the Percy Jackson world with the Magnus Chase and Trials of Apollo series!
3. Champion by Marie Lu
Ahhh here we go again with the dystopians. Champion is the third book in the Legend trilogy. I was pleasantly surprised by this trilogy. I thought it would be just another dystopian, following the same kind of formula all dystopians seem to follow these days. And yes, it kind of did, but it did it well. I thought the Legend trilogy was a bit more political than most other dystopians which I actually enjoyed. I like seeing how people actually carry out decisions in these societies and the kinds of biases that pervade the people. I also think this series is different in that the characters actually work together with the government (or at least a member of the government) to bring about a better society, rather than to just rebel and cause social upheaval and violence. June and Day are also OTP and while many people hated the ending of Champion, I actually really loved it, especially the epilogue. It really struck me and left me thinking about them long after I closed the book, which I can’t say for many other couples in books.
2. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Whoo boy, how do I even begin to explain my love for this book and this series in general. The Unwind dystology consists of four books and is a dystopian series (surprise, surprise) set in a world where parents are allowed to harvest their children’s organs if they want to. Sound creepy yet? This world is so incredibly fleshed out (no pun intended) and I think that is largely due to the multiple POVs. We get so many interesting POVs throughout the series that really let us see this world and society from every possible angle. It is also the dystopian that seems closest to our real world which is incredibly scary. The process of unwinding really got me shook. Aside from the world and the multiple POV writing, our main characters are also so interesting and brave and just human. I love love love Connor, Risa and Lev and I think they are some of the most interesting but relatable heroes ever. Gaaaaahhhh I can’t say enough good things about this book and it pains me that it is not more well-known or well-loved. It has quickly become my favorite dystopian series, even surpassing The Hunger Games! If that doesn’t tell you to go read this series, I don’t know what will.
1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I really struggled between Unwind and A Monster Calls for the number one spot but I decided to give it to A Monster Calls. This book packs such an emotional punch for one that I read in two hours. It is a story about a boy dealing with grief and I think it is such an important read for everyone. Another beautiful story with simplistic but beautiful writing. The story is just so incredible and I am amazed at how it is able to capture so many themes and ideas about grief in such a short and simple story. A must read for anyone who is dealing with grief and highly recommended for everyone in general. The movie was also incredible and really brought out all the raw emotions I felt while reading this book. Please, do yourself a favor and read this if you haven’t. You’ll get a whole new understanding of grief and life and eventually being okay again.
So those are my top ten books of 2016! I’m excited to start book blogging although I’m not sure how often I can do it. I planned to start in 2018 but I thought I would give it a go first with some posts. I will soon post my Least Favorite Reads of 2016 and also Booktube’s Favorite Reads of 2016 where I list out the definitive top ten list of books based on 30 booktubers’ Favorites of 2016 videos.
Cheers and happy reading!